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Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?

Yo 18 Jul 00 - 09:15 AM
SDShad 18 Jul 00 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Mrr 18 Jul 00 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Mrr 18 Jul 00 - 09:55 AM
Mbo 18 Jul 00 - 10:21 AM
SDShad 18 Jul 00 - 11:33 AM
SDShad 18 Jul 00 - 11:55 AM
Downeast Bob 18 Jul 00 - 12:06 PM
Wesley S 18 Jul 00 - 12:39 PM
Yo 19 Jul 00 - 02:22 PM
catspaw49 19 Jul 00 - 03:10 PM
WyoWoman 20 Jul 00 - 02:24 AM
GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 20 Jul 00 - 08:19 AM
Wincing Devil 20 Jul 00 - 08:34 AM
Fortunato 20 Jul 00 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Mrr 20 Jul 00 - 10:23 AM
GUEST 20 Jul 00 - 10:31 AM
SDShad 20 Jul 00 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,Ely 20 Jul 00 - 01:33 PM
Yo 24 Jul 00 - 07:01 AM
SDShad 24 Jul 00 - 07:49 AM
JenEllen 24 Jul 00 - 10:11 PM
Yo 25 Jul 00 - 09:45 AM
Mark Clark 25 Jul 00 - 10:54 AM
Yo 25 Jul 00 - 02:21 PM
Downeast Bob 25 Jul 00 - 05:17 PM
Mark Clark 25 Jul 00 - 10:53 PM
SDShad 25 Jul 00 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,Suzy Thompson 26 Jul 00 - 11:58 AM
MAG (inactive) 26 Jul 00 - 03:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jul 00 - 08:17 PM
Yo 27 Jul 00 - 01:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jul 00 - 02:19 PM
Yo 27 Jul 00 - 03:04 PM
Desert Dancer 24 Apr 11 - 08:20 PM
GUEST,PeterC 25 Apr 11 - 12:14 PM
greg stephens 25 Apr 11 - 04:40 PM
gnu 25 Apr 11 - 04:52 PM
Darowyn 26 Apr 11 - 03:57 AM
Desert Dancer 26 Apr 11 - 12:55 PM
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Subject: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Yo
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 09:15 AM

This doesn't have to turn in to a discussion, I just wanted to know if Zydeco is the same thing as Cajun. And maybe, what does it mean... Yo.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: SDShad
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 09:38 AM

The fiddler for the fabulous Cajun band Balfa Tojours explained this very well at a workshop at the Sioux River Folk Festival a few years back. I've of course forgotten the particulars over the years, but the basic spirit of it is this: there isn't really a yes/no answer to your question. Zydeco tends to be more the music of African-American French in Louisiana, and "Cajun" music tends to be more the music of White French in Louisiana. But there's a great deal of overlap of performers, styles, and aficianados. There are plenty of Black French who love and play the more "Cajun" style, and vice versa.

I also kind of get the impression that "Zydeco" is kind of a twentieth-century stylistic/marketing label used to describe a kind of folk/ethnic music with roots much older than its name, not unlike "bluegrass" or "reggae" or "salsa."

Anyone with more extensive knowledge of this than me, though could probably answer your question much more accurately than me. Fortunately, the Mudcat is just the place for same, I suspect...

Chris


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 09:44 AM

I heard on PBS in an interview with an aged Cajun woman about how the term Zydeco was born. No idea if it's true, but it sounded so. Apparently the local slang for partying was "to cut beans" - or in French, couper les haricots. Now, in real French, haricots takes an "H aspiré" and so the "s" on the end of "les" would not normally be pronounced, but the Cajuns do the "liaison" and pronounced it "couper les_zaricots" - with the R being pronounced very hard, almost a "D" - it became pronounced "zadico" and thus was born the term Zydeco for Cajun PARTY music.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 09:55 AM

Also, I believe Cajun to be a term for the people, language, culture, cooking... (a generic) and Zydeco to be a term for one of their musical styles (a specific).


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Mbo
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 10:21 AM

The way I learned it in Ethnomusicology class was that zydeco music was played as entertainment WHILE beans were being snapped or cut. Along the same lines as how Scottish Gaelic wauking songs were used to beat & stretch tweed to. But MAN what music to snap those beans to! You'll have you work done in no time! I'm a LOUISIANA MAN!!!! YEAH!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: SDShad
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 11:33 AM

Yo, I did a quick bit o' lookin', and this came up in an earlier thread, and Dale Rose, God bless 'im, provided a link to a good definition of Zydeco.

Although I especially like Spaw's definition from that thread: "One part Basin Street, one part jug band, one part 50's rock, one part Dixieland, six parts Cajun, with a dash of reggae."

Chris


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: SDShad
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 11:55 AM

One more: The All Music Guide has a decent article too.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Downeast Bob
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 12:06 PM

A lot of the old time jazz musicians of New Orleans used to play a tune called "Les Haricots" (the beans) which was picked up and played by some of the black Louisiana French speaking musicians whose music overlapped with that of the white Cajuns. I've heard that quoted as the root of the term "Zydeco."


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Wesley S
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 12:39 PM

I may be splitting hairs here and believe me I'm no expert but would y'all say that zydeco tends to be played on electric instruments and cajun seems to be more acoustic?? Let me know what you think.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Yo
Date: 19 Jul 00 - 02:22 PM

Thanks guys, I'm just getting in to Cajun a little bit. Or more Mardi Gras??¿¿ Or more New Orleans ??¿¿ Anyway, I'm starting to like it, specialy with the help of MudCat! Mr.Dave sang about Zydeco, that's way I asked. There's still lots to learn I guess..... Yo.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Jul 00 - 03:10 PM

Thnaks for all the better definitions and some interesting history too.

And Chris.........Not to be a jerk, which I am, but I kinda' liked that too. It may not be culturally accurate, but for me, it defines the sound!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: WyoWoman
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 02:24 AM

I interviewed Queen Ida a few years back for an article and she gave pretty much the same story -- that it was related to the party atmosphere they had sitting on the porch while snapping beans and playing music and visiting with each other. So Zydeco came to be shorthand for "let's party hearty," and now represents that particular kind of music.

She was absolutely terrific -- both her music and her interview. I also got her cookbook at the concert, but years later, still haven't made the gumbo -- one of my favorite foods in the world. don't know why.

does anyone know what's happened with Queen Ida? Is she still performing? I sort of see her as the Tina Turner of Zydeco. They're both a couple of my role models ...

WyoWoman


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 08:19 AM

One thing I didn't find out in either of the fine references. How do you pronounce Zydeco. In particular, where is the accent. There is a group formed locally calling themselves "Psycho Zydeco". I haven't heard them name themselves; but people here seem to say zyDECo, whereas I would tend to say ZYdeco. Of course being French, maybe it is zydeCO. Help!

Murray


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 08:34 AM

Answer is Simple: There was never any worry about Cajun Music being Y2K compliant!

Besides the Creole/Acadian thing, Zydeco tends to rely on electricity more than Cajun. (Electric Bass, organ etc.) So if you lost power due to Y2K, you can still play Cajun Music...

Eh, Toi!!!

Wincing Devil
Sphynx cat sleeping on your shoulder... The only wear to wear leather!


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Fortunato
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 08:51 AM

Now you guys cut this out. I can't think about this music in the morning! It's too damn early here in Washington DC to drink beer and dance and kiss girls.

Oh. And the difference between the two, Cajun and Zydeco? When I listen to the Zydeco (like Buckwheat) my butt starts to wiggle first. When I listen to the cajun (like BEAUSOLEIL) my right foot it starts to bounce. And of course they sound a little different, cher.

Fortunato


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 10:23 AM

The old lady on PBS pronounced it, you're right, ZYdeCO, kind of equal stresses on first and last syllables. Compromising between English and French. Americans tend to accent the first syllable, whereas "haricots" does indeed have primary stress on the last.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 10:31 AM

Yeah, Spaw, but you're our jerk, and weluvyaman....

Uhm, you gonna drink that beer?

Shad


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: SDShad
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 10:35 AM

Uhm, OOPS! That was me, sans cookie. NT chose yesterday to crash completely on my main work machine, and I'm just now getting done reinstalling everything, and I forgot to log in.

And did I have an Emergency Repair Disk for my machine like I tell all my users to?

Of bloody course not.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: GUEST,Ely
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 01:33 PM

I'm not sure exactly what the difference is since I'm not a big fan, but they are not. Kind of like old-time and bluegrass are not the same thing.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Yo
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 07:01 AM

This is realy interesting! I always listen to The Eagles and Jackson Brown and one or two David Lindley albums. But now a whole new world opens up. I'm not realy in to the authentic cajun (or zydeco) but now at least I'm starting to learn where all this great music comes from. Bless the internet, and bless the Mudcat. Yo.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: SDShad
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 07:49 AM

It's just that kind of a place, Yo! In the words of Ben Stein, "stay tuned, you might learn something!" If you like Jackson Browne, you've already got good taste. In case it hasn't been said yet, welcome aboard!

Some times, were's a Steamboat,

Chris


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: JenEllen
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 10:11 PM

Anybody in the Northwest US, come check out the rendezvous the 27th of July, Moscow Idaho. Cajun/Zydeco night, tons of folks. The last I heard the big stage was How's Bayou and Filet.
~Elle


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Yo
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 09:45 AM

Yep Chris, Jackson Browne... And lately we hear a lot of Venice here to. Great guys. But still a little "soft" (I don't mean that in a bad way, I love their music). But since I joined Mudcat I bought some new albums of Mr.Dave, and now I learn where his songs come from and all that, awsome! Great to learn that there are a lot of peaple willing to talk about this, and other kinds of music. I'll bee back, proberbly with more questions. Yo.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 10:54 AM

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to a fait do do at which the Balfa Brothers were featured along with Nathan Abshire. As I recall, they told us the name for the party, fait do do, meant something like the children are sleeping.

They played two distinct styles of music. During the afternoon, they played outdoors and did a strictly traditional, acoustic set featuring the twin fiddles of Will and Dewey with Rodney on Guitar and Abshire alternating between "French" accordian and triangle. Following a fabulous gumbo meal prepared and served by their families we all went into the barn for a Cajun dance. The music turned electric and the Cajun dance style turned out to be indistinguishable (to me) from the jitterbug. As an additional treat, Bill Keith showed up and sat in on banjo.

The dance music played in the barn may have been zydeco but they just called it "Cajun dance music." I don't think I'd yet heard the word zydeco at that time (c. 1974).

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Yo
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 02:21 PM

Are you a musician yourself Mark? Yo.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Downeast Bob
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 05:17 PM

Don't forget that "Cajun" is a Louisiana way of pronouncing "Acadian." When the Brits expelled the French-speaking people of Acadia from their homeland in 1755 (and renamed it Nova Scotia), the exiles were dispersed to various North American colonies, to parts of France, and to French-speaking colonies in the Caribbean. A bunch of them wound up in the bayous country of southern Louisiana. Another large group went up the St. John River and settled in a backwoods area between Quebec and nornern Maine -- out of reach of the British Navy. Sometimes the Acadians of Maine have big family reunions, attended by kinfolk from Lousiana. When the fiddle bows get to flying you can hear the similarities and differences between the present day Acadian and Cajun styles. In my opinion, the butt-shaking zydeco style evolved when French-speaking and non-French speaking African-Americans in Louisiana began jamming with their Cajun neighbors and adding some of their own musical traditions to the jambalaya.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 10:53 PM

Yo, Yes.

Downeast Bob, Thanks for reminding us of the recent history of these great people. I remember Dewey Balfa talking about the Acadians and also about a visit by some folks from France. He was very interested in the differences in spoken language as well as musical traditions.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: SDShad
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 10:58 PM

Mark, how marvelous to have met Dewey Balfa! I saw Balfa Tojours (Balfa: The Next Generation?) two years ago at the Sioux River Folk Festival. They spoke lovingly of the Brothers, and were pretty darned marvelous in their own right.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: GUEST,Suzy Thompson
Date: 26 Jul 00 - 11:58 AM

Zydeco is NOT the same as Cajun. Both kinds of music come from French-speaking Southwest Louisiana. But what is now known as zydeco is a more modern form of the music, and it stems from the African=American French-speaking community (in southwest Louisiana, this is called "Creole"). Here's a simple way to tell the difference (but remember, there are bound to be exceptions!): If a piano accordion is used, or if a 2-row button accordion is used, it's zydeco. If it's a one-row button accordion, it could be either Cajun or zydeco. If there's a rubboard, it's zydeco; if there's a fiddle, it's Cajun. Drums and electric instruments are used in both kinds. IF there's an acoustic guitar, it's probably Cajun. Zydeco came into being during the 1940's. It's sort of analogous to bluegrass coming out of oldtime country music, or R&B emerging from the country blues. It has its roots in the older Cajun-Creole music, but also integrated other forms of music, including rhythm & blues, jazz, and (later on) rock and roll. A few of the early exponents of zydeco include the late, great Clifton Chenier and the wonderful Boozoo Chavis, still actively playing great music. Clifton's music was quite sophisticated; he played piano accordion as well as button accordion (in fact I think he played mainly piano accordion) and drew from a wide variety of sources. Boozoo's music is closer to the oldtime Creole styles; he plays 2 row button accordion. Cajun music has its roots in the French music that came to Louisiana with the Acadians, but those roots are pretty hard to discern now. In the 1920's recordings of French music from southwest Louisiana, there's not that much difference between the music being played by white and black musicians and in fact, one of the most influential accordion players, Amede Ardoin (a black man) recorded with Dennis McGee (a white fiddler). One confusing thing about Cajun music is that it has historically taken on aspects of whatever kind of music was popular at the time. Thus, you have Cleoma Falcon (who played with her husband Joe on the very first Cajun recording to be issued) recording "Lulu Revient Au Village" in the 1920's, the Hackberry Ramblers and other string bands doing Western Swing in the 1930's, Harry Choates recording "Dragging the Bow" in the 40's, Nathan Abshire trying his hand at Cajunesque swamp pop in the 50's, etc. This results in Beausoleil doing "Louie Louie" which, while it may not be the kind of folky Cajun music that I myself prefer, is completely "correct" when you consider the historical hybrid aspects of the music. I could go on about this topic forever but this is probably more than enough. I hope I answered your question. I would have thought Tracy Schwarz would have jumped in here too but he's probably at Augusta or something.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 26 Jul 00 - 03:58 PM

Dear Suzy, I sure enjoyed your concert with Eric in Portland last fall. Worth the drive from where I live. Come back!


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jul 00 - 08:17 PM

Anyway, whatever you call it, here is a website I just found with and other fascinating stuff about Louisiana.

What always amazes me is that, from what I've been told, when the French in France want to rock and roll, they never seem aware of Cajun music or Zydeco. But you can't turn round in an Engish festival without hearing it.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Yo
Date: 27 Jul 00 - 01:06 PM

Her in Europe French music is not very popular. And the language neither. Me myself hated French in school, and though the Dutch speak pretty good English and German, no-one speaks French. Since I learn more about Cajun (and Zydeco) I come to find the language much more plessant. Specialy the raw things you hear.... I wouldn't know though if the French play Cajun here in Europe. Never heard it on the radio or something. Yo.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jul 00 - 02:19 PM

"Here in Europe" means mainland Europe? That's probably true in England generally, but definitely not in folk circles. Especially if you count Bretons as French. Blowzabella opened people's eyes to the French traditions.

There must be some good Dutch music, but they seem to keep it hidden. All the Dutch folkies seem to play Irish or American stuff and neglect their own roots entirely. I've just been listening to a brilliant CD of Flemish music.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Yo
Date: 27 Jul 00 - 03:04 PM

Flemish,that must be Belgian? Don't realy know if we have a history with music. Couldn't be very much. I know that a lot of Dutch sang music is kinda like those sleepy country songs. We have some good bands though! Rowen Haze is a realy good Tex Mex band from the south of Holland . But than again, I'm not realy a folkie.:-(


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 08:20 PM

Tompkins Square has released a compilation of all Amede Ardoin's recordings: "Mama, I'll Be Long Gone: The Complete Recordings of Amede Ardoin 1929-1934" (Tompkins Square, 2011).

Online commentors an NPR interview with the compiler, Christopher King, are distressed at what they interpret as a confusion in the article between Zydeco and Cajun musical identities, but Tompkins Square touts Ardoin as "the father of Cajun and Zydeco" in their blurb.

It sure looks to me (and I admit to being totally ignorant in the genres) that Ardoin seriously blurred any line between Cajun and zydeco.

That web newspage at Tompkins Square has links to the NPR story, a Washington Post review of the album, and a PBS piece on Amede Ardoin (on YouTube).

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 25 Apr 11 - 12:14 PM


It sure looks to me (and I admit to being totally ignorant in the genres) that Ardoin seriously blurred any line between Cajun and zydeco.

More that Ardoin pre-dated the line between Cajun and zydeco.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: greg stephens
Date: 25 Apr 11 - 04:40 PM

The style that is called zydeco didn't really develop till after Amadee Ardoin was dead. So he may have been (well, certainly was) a critical figure in its development, but he didn't play it. Like Louis Armstrong and bepop, say.


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: gnu
Date: 25 Apr 11 - 04:52 PM

Missed this thread first time around. Great stuff!


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Darowyn
Date: 26 Apr 11 - 03:57 AM

There is a difference in the dancing style too.
I learned from a dance workshop, that Zydeco is danced about four inches closer together!
A "Fay dodo" comes from French baby talk, "Fais dodo" is "Go bye-byes" or "Go to sleep". A whole musical genre based on one song, just like Zydeco itself.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Is Zydeco the same as Cajun?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 26 Apr 11 - 12:55 PM

Greg, I wondered if that was the case. Thanks.

~ Becky


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